Monday, September 29, 2014

ABC Fall Pilot Review: Selfie - Premieres Tuesday, Sept. 30; Starz Gives Us Sampling of LeBron James Produced Comedy

Selfie

Selfie - Tuesdays at 8:00PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 8:00PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) has 263,000 followers who hang on to her every post, tweet and selfie. But one lonely day, she has a revelation: being friended is not the same as having actual friends. She asks marketing guru Henry (John Cho) to 'rebrand' her self-obsessed reputation and teach her how to connect with people in the real world. Loosely based on My Fair Lady, Selfie explores the modern struggles of Eliza and Henry, as he tries to teach her how to live life offline - whether she 'likes' it or not.

Cast Details:

Karen Gillan as Eliza Dooley
John Cho as Henry Higgins
Tip Peper as Ethan Chase
Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Charmonique
Allyn Rachel as Bryn
David Harewood as Sam Saperstein

Karen Gillan (Eliza Dooley) is a Scottish actress best known for her long-running tenure as companion Amy Pond on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who. She also starred as Nebula in the blockbuster film Guardians of the Galaxy. Her other film and TV credits include a starring role in Oculus and a recurring role on NTSF:SD:SUV::.

John Cho (Henry Higgins) is best known as Harold Lee in the popular Harold and Kumar film series. He also had a starring role in the NBC sitcom Go On. He has numerous other film and TV credits, including roles on FlashForward, Sleepy Hollow, Children's Hospital, 30 Rock, Ugly Betty, and Grey's Anatomy.

Tip Peper (Ethan Chase) is a Broadway actor primarily known for his stage work, including a starring role in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoats. He also had guest roles on Law & Order, Guiding Light, and NCIS on television.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph (Charmonique) is best known for her starring role in Ghost: The Musical.

Allyn Rachel (Bryn) has appeared on several TV series, including Workaholics, Weeds, Comedy Bang! Bang! and New Girl.

David Harewood (Sam) is best known for his role as David Estes on Homeland. He has also appeared on several British TV shows, including Doctor Who, The Body Farm, and Hustle.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 8:00PM ET/PT)

After an embarrassing incident, social media-obsessed Eliza Dooley must find a way to reinvent her image into someone that's actually capable of friendship. She enlists her co-worker Henry Higgins to help "re-invent" her into someone who's just friended into someone with actual friends.

Analysis:

Selfie is a show that I wanted to like more than I actually did. I was a fan of Emily Kapnak's previous creation (the dearly departed Suburgatory) and I'm a huge fan of both Karen Gillan and John Cho. All of these people are immensely talented, and I have faith that all of their combined talents will eventually form a show that's at least pretty good, if not fantastic. But the pilot isn't quite there yet, and it's not helped by the show's frankly unappealing concept, which boils the vast medium of the internet and the advent of social media into a bunch of obnoxious stereotypes. The shows' focus on the social trends of the moment strangely make it feel slightly dated in parts - there's a handful of internet memes from the not-too-distant past referenced that already feel more like throwbacks than current references (Flappy Bird was the biggest offender, along with the phrase "epic fail"), which might have been current when this script was being written but now demonstrate some of the issues of a show on this kind of time schedule attempting to be as "of the moment" as this show is.

The parts of Selfie that do shine are the parts that leave the annoying internet speak by the wayside and instead focus more closely on the potentially interesting characters that Eliza and Henry are at their core. Gillan and Cho both play these aspects well enough to suggest that the show could become something to look out for if it starts heading more towards that direction, and although Eliza Dooley needs to be turned down from the 15 out of 10 she's currently at on the cartoonish scale, both of these characters have potential to turn into something interesting. The last scene of the pilot suggests the show's ultimate goal is not the "let's fix this shallow person" plot it starts off as but rather a far more promising "let's have these two flawed people learn from each other route." And that's what will determine whether or not Selfie will be a show to look out for or not - if it can tone down its grating internet satire and and highlight the more nuanced details about this fairly interesting pair of characters, it could turn out to be something. There's no guarantee it'll go in that direction, but here's to hoping.

Conclusion:

Selfie isn't all there yet, but there's bits and pieces of a promising show lurking around the center of this pilot. If it can get the irritating meme-based comedy out of its system and start to become a more grounded, character-focused show about two flawed human beings, then this talented cast and writing team might be able to produce a show that's worth taking a look at. Let's hope that's the case, because there's far too much talent on Selfie to be wasted, and there's parts of this pilot that suggest there's a really good show hiding in here somewhere.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 at 8:00PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Selfie Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Survivor's Remorse

    Starz is offering multi-platform, nationwide sampling of the first two episodes of the new Starz Original Series, Survivor's Remorse, available now since Saturday (Sept. 27). The six-episode first season of the half-hour scripted comedy series executive produced by Tom Werner, Maverick Carter, LeBron James, Mike O'Malley, Paul Wachter and Victor Levin and premieres Saturday, October 4 at 9 pm ET/PT on Starz. Select multichannel video distributors will offer linear, on-demand and online sampling opportunities of the episodes on September 27, one week in advance of the Starz series premiere. Approximately 78 million multichannel video households will have access to the sampling opportunities through select cable, satellite and Telco affiliates in the United States, as well as online through select websites including Starz.com, the Survivor's Remorse Twitter page, the Survivor's Remorse YouTube page, Survivor's Remorse Facebook page, STARZ ON DEMAND and the free STARZ PLAY app for all users in the United States. The episodes will also be available on Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Sony Entertainment Network and Xbox Video.

    The comedy is a six-episode half-hour comedy series that follows Cam Calloway, played by Jessie T. Usher, a basketball phenom in his early 20's who is suddenly thrust into the limelight after signing a multi-million dollar contract with a professional basketball team in Atlanta. Cam, along with his cousin and confidant Reggie Vaughn, played by RonReaco Lee, move to Georgia to start Cam's journey to success. The two confront the challenges of carrying needy family members and their strong ties to the impoverished community that they come from. Cam, Reggie and an unforgettable group of characters wrestle with the rewards and pitfalls of stardom, love, and loyalty. The series is executive produced by Tom Werner, Maverick Carter, LeBron James, Mike O'Malley, Paul Wachter and Victor Levin and the cast includes Mike Epps, Tichina Arnold, Teyonah Parris, and Erica Ash.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Thursday, October 18

    The Big Bang Theory - "The Planetarium Collision" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Amy doesn’t have time to work on super-asymmetry, Sheldon goes to great lengths to ensure she’s available to work with him even it if means accidentally sabotaging her career in the process. Also, Koothrappali doesn’t want Wolowitz to join him in hosting a show at the planetarium. Emmy Award winner Bob Newhart returns as Arthur Jeffries.

    Young Sheldon - "A Research Study and Czechoslovakian Wedding Pastries" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Dr. Sturgis (Wallace Shawn) recommends Sheldon and Missy for a university research study on twins, and Mary is unhappy when the test results go to Sheldon’s head.

    Mom - "Big Sauce and Coconut Water" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Christy is certain that Bonnie is in over her head when she invites a freshly paroled Tammy (Kristen Johnston) to stay with them.

    Murphy Brown - "Three Shirts to the Wind" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Murphy and the team weigh the pros and cons of accepting the offer to have the first interview with a headline-grabbing former White House senior advisor (David Costabile) who wants to promote his divisive book and agenda on “Murphy in the Morning.” Also, Avery moderates a lively political discussion on his show with locals in Buffalo, N.Y.. Original series cast member Charles Kimbrough returns as Jim Dial in his first of three episodes, and Merle Dandridge guest stars as the team’s arrogant network boss, Diana Macomber.

    Superstore - "Toxic Workplace" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) get combative to keep their new relationship hidden from their co-workers. Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) spirals when he learns Kelly (Kelly Stables) wants to transfer to a new store, and Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) struggles to organize a Cloud 9 carpool.

    The Good Place - "Jeremy Bearimy" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    The group explores the three main branches of ethical thought.

    Will & Grace - "Tex and the City" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Will (Eric McCormack) and Jack (Sean Hayes) visit Jack’s grandson, Skip (guest star Samuel Faraci), in Texas to watch him perform at his church’s talent show. But when Jack learns Skip plans on singing “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” he becomes afraid for his grandson’s safety. Karen (Megan Mullally) tags along to check out the portion of the border wall she sponsored, only to discover that Beverley Leslie (guest star Leslie Jordan) has claimed it as his own. Back home, Grace (Debra Messing) and Noah (guest star David Schwimmer) try to figure out if something is wrong in their relationship because their numerous attempts to have sex have failed.

    I Feel Bad - "I'm Vain A.F." (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    An upcoming launch party at GamePunch throws Emet’s vanity into overdrive. Intent on scrubbing a bad picture off the company website, Emet is dead set on redeeming herself and getting the perfect photo at this year’s party – that means getting her hair done, professional make-up and toning up a problem area: her husband.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 15)

    Thursday, October 18

    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Catch Julia on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On/Starved) - Laura stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - John appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Meredith Hagner (Search Party/Men at Work) - Meredith is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Maya Rudolph (Forever/Up All Night) - Maya drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Nick visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Sanaa Lathan (Family Guy/The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Sanaa appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Stockard Channing (Out of Practice/The Stockard Channing Show/Stockard Channing in Just Friends) - Stockard visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Jenna Fischer (Splitting Up Together/The Office) - Jenna appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • John Stamos (Grandfathered/Jake in Progress/Full House) - John talks about You on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Michael Fishman and Maya Lynne Robinson (The Conners/Roseanne) - Michael and Maya Lynne are guests on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET. Michael and Lecy Goranson can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM.
    • John Goodman (The Conners/Roseanne/The Trouble in Normal, Ohio) - John talks about The Big Lebowski reunion on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • Bailee Madison (Trophy Wife) - Bailey talks about Hallmark Channel's Good Witch: Tale of Two Hearts on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (September/October)

    The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

    09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
    09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
    09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
    09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
    09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
    09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
    09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
    09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
    09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
    09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
    09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
    10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
    10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
    10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
    10/16 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest